SandwichCraft Transcript

Primary School Lunch Room

GUESTS: Boy #1, Girl #1, Boy #2

BOY #1: Oh man! Egg Salad again!
GIRL #1: That's not so bad.
B1: Oh yeah? Watch this...
B2: Ehhh!
G1: Gross!
BOY #2: That's gross, but not as bad as my PBJ&T
B1&G1: PBJ&T?
B2: Peanut Butter, Jelly and Tuna!
B1: Oh!
G1: Gross!
B2: What do you have?
G1: Baloney.
B1: Lucky.
G1: But what is this stuff? [takes bread off and shows some green stuff]
B1: Not sure, but I don't think it goes with Baloney.
B2: Looks like toxic waste to me.
G1: I'm definitely not eating that.
B1: Hey, you guys got any money? We could go in on a pizza.
G1: How about chili cheese fries?
B2: Excellent!

The Kitchen


ALTON BROWN: Well, you're definitely getting better with that handi-cam.
ELTON: Thanks.
AB: Too bad you just documented the fall of Western civilization.
  E: What does that mean?
AB: Well this is how it starts, you know? I mean, dissatisfied with the sustenance provided by home, these kids are walking right into the clutches of the processed food world. I mean, from here on out, they'll look to the drive-throughs for satisfaction, and "biggie size!" will be their battle cry. They really serve chili cheese fries at school?
  E: Well, yeah. And chicken wings, and pizza burritos, and ... not that I would ever eat any of that stuff of course.
AB: Well, budget cuts have forced some schools to allow less than nutritionally savory food partners into the cafeteria. But you know, maybe we can use America's favorite food form to heal what's ailing us.
  E: Chili cheese fries?
AB: No, the sandwich of course. But what we really need to do is to bring kids and parents together in a unified effort.
  E: Build it and they will come.
AB: Build it right and they will come. Problem is, Americans have forgotten how to build an honest-to-goodness sandwich. And that's a real shame because a sandwich is basic survival chow. Give a kid a sandwich, you feed him for a day. Teach him the ins and outs of sandwich physics, and you feed him for a lifetime. And that, my friends, is what it's all about here on ...

The Kitchen

GUESTS: Rabbi Hillel, The Elder
              Nameless, Peasant
              John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich
              Marsha, AB's Sibling
              Elton, Marsha's Spawn

But first a little history...

RABBI HILLEL: Legend states that in the first century B.C., a Rabbi named Hillel, The Elder, took one piece of matzo, placed on top of it a paste composed of fruit, nuts and spices, with a little bit of wine just to be safe, and he stuck another matzo on top, thus inventing the sandwich.

NAMELESS: In the middle ages, we didn't have much in the way of plates, so we often took our suppers on great, greasy slabs of bread we called trenchers. Sometimes when we were really hungry, and that was most of the time, we ate the trencher too. That's not really a sandwich, though, is it?

JOHN MONTAGUE: Well, don't feel too bad, my foul-smelling little friend. Truth is, the word "Sandwich" didn't even come into existence until 1762. Now legend has it that during an all-night, marathon card game, the notorious gambler, John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, demanded that his man-servant bring him a couple of slices of beef inbetween some bread so that he could take nourishment without having to abandon a winning hand. Well it seemed to be a pretty good concept because within days, other gamblers were ordering the same as "Sandwich" and the name stuck.

M: How is this supposed to teach me how to cook with my kid?
E: Well, it's history, Mom. We're learning.
M: About gambling, not sandwiches.
E: I believe the point he was making is that the sandwich as a concept was borne out of the desire to eat without abandoning one's task. From its birth, you could see that the sandwich is the perfect meal for a nation on the go.
M: Well? Is that what you meant to say?
JM: Yes. Of course. [takes wig off]

    Although arguments can be made for various roll-ups, burritos and pitas, as well as stuffed baked goods like empanadas and pasties (PAY-stees), or pasties (PAH-stees), these delights will have to wait for their own shows because when I say sandwich, I'm talking about the sandwich of the Earl of Sandwich, meaning two pieces of bread, between which is deposited ... something.

M: What do you mean, "something"? Isn't that kind of vague?
E: And what about the bread? Is one just as good as the other?
AB: Your questions are many and varied, but if we're going to find any answers, we're going to have to take a journey to deli.

Not Delhi...deli.

Harry's Farmers Market; Alpharetta, GA - 2:00 pm

GUEST: Mega-mart Baker

AB: If you check out your modern deli, you'll notice that it's a veritable museum of sandwich-dom. I mean, here we've got all the classics: reubens, runzas, muffulettas, monte cristos, croque monsieurs, triple-decker clubs, foot-long grinders, bombers, po boys. Wow. You know, most of your classic sandwiches have 2 things in common.
E: Hmm. What's that?
AB: Strong, regional associations and physics.
E: Physics. You've got to be joking, right?
AB: Elton, I never joke about my work. In fact, I believe in a unified theory of sandwich physics.

    Corollary 1: Soft fillings are best served on soft breads.

soft fillings are best served on soft breads

    Corollary 2: When wet ingredients, such as tomatoes are used, a thin coating of mayonnaise, butter, cream cheese or oil should be applied to the bread as a moisture barrier.

when using wet ingredients apply a moisture barrier

    [Corollary] 3: Avoid placing layers of slippery, slidy substances next to one another.

avoid placing layers of slippery ingredients next to one another

    And [corollary] 4: Never, ever use a bread you wouldn't eat on its own.

never use a bread you wouldn't eat on its own

AB: Elton, are you familiar with the expression "Best thing since sliced bread"?
  E: Sure.
AB: Well let me tell you something: Nothing in our collective culture has done more to damage the cred [credibility] of the sandwich than sliced bread.
  E: Well, if it's not sliced, then how do you make a sandwich out of it?
AB: Well, the issue here is pre-sliced. You see, sliced bread goes stale really, really fast. And to counteract that, manufacturers have to add a lot of ... stuff.
  E: What kind of stuff?
AB: Well, flip it over and take a look.
  E: Calcium iodate monogly... Ah gosh, is this even English?
AB: Heh heh heh. Not really. And you know what the best thing is? You know what this stuff's mostly really made out of? [squishes the bag of pre-sliced bread up into a ball] Air. [hands it to Elton who tosses it into a cart]
AB: Luckily, these days most mega-marts are either importing bread from real bakeries, or they're installing bakeries in-house. Here, give that a feel.
  E: Wow, it's hard!
AB: Yeah, firm. The good stuff almost always is. Ciabatta, foccacia, sourdough, sweet rolls, baguettes, bialys, all of this stuff makes great sandwiches and all deliver real flavor and texture.
  E: Ah, but how are you going to slice all of it?
AB: I'm not. He is. Mind slicing this for us?
MB: Thick or thin?
AB: Ah, we'll go thick on everything but the Rye. We'll go thin on that.
  E: Didn't you cover this in your toast show?
AB: You watch too much television. [exits]
  E: [mocks AB under his breath]

The towering Dagwood sandwich was named after
Dagwood Bumstead of the comic strip "Blondie."

The Kitchen

AB: The history of the Sub Sandwich is rather vague, although odds are good that it was introduced to America by immigrants from Southern Italy somewhere around the turn of the Twentieth Century. As for the name, well, some say that it was named at a deli located in a town near a submarine base on the coast of Connecticut where they happened to serve a sandwich whose size and shape matched that of the local livelihood. [a large model submarine pulls away to reveal a sub sandwich]
  E: Wow! Hey, Mom, can...
  M: No, don't even think about it.
AB: Today we are going to manufacture a classic French sub called a pan bagnat, or "wet bread".
  E: Hey, why does everything food have to be French?
AB: Cause that's just the way they want it. Now this ... this is a classic sandwich because it has 2 characteristics that we want to see in all subs: It's got a perfect balance of texture, it's got a perfect balance of flavor. And, there is a very specific method of construction.
  M: You mean a recipe.
AB: Not exactly. Come on.

[the move to another counter where AB lays out some blueprints]

AB: Here we have a very badly constructed sub. I mean, look at the circumference. A reticulated python couldn't get its mouth around that. And see this? This huge bulge of shredded lettuce? That is a big mess waiting to happen. And forget about the fact that these ingredients don't go together. You know, ketchup, liverwurst. And look at this. We've got this layer of cherry tomatoes over apples. That's not going to stay together on repeated trips from plate to palate. It's a slip zone. In contrast, the pan bagnat, ... excuse me [pulls out a new blueprint] ... Look at that. It's so perfect it doesn't even require explanation.
  M: Actually ...
AB: Now if parents and children are going to cook together in harmony, there's got to be order! Every person involved needs their own work area, their own tools, and their own chores. I have taken the liberty of preparing your work assignments. Marsha, you gather Phase 1 software. Elton, you gather the hardware. Go Food!

[they take off]

AB: We begin with the sandwich dressing, which is nothing more than a simple vinaigrette. Begin by placing one-half teaspoon of Dijon mustard, that'll do, in a mixing bowl. Then whisk in one tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Very nice. One half teaspoon of kosher salt. Good, good. And several grinds of black pepper. Perfectly adequate. Now while Kid A whisks continuously, Parent B will drizzle in three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Slowly.

1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbs. Olive Oil

  M: I'm hungry!
Slowly. Slowly. Or else the emulsion won't form. The whole point here is to not overwhelm the liquid with the fat or we won't get an emulsion. But of course, having the Mustard in there is going to help because there are emulsifiers in the Mustard.
  M: This slow enough?
AB: Slow enough. Keep whisking, kid. Now that we have the vinaigrette safely in the bowl, it's time to move to Phase Two: Construction. Our first order of business, of course, is to split this foot-and-a-half-long loaf of bread cleanly in half.
  E: Hey, I'll do it.
  M: Over my dead body!
AB: Uh, this is one time, just one, that I'm going to agree with your Mom, Junior Ninja.
  M: Uh Huh.

AB: I think I'll take this one. Now the key to this kind of splitting is to work on the edge of the counter. Put your hand right on top of the loaf with your thumb WAY up in the air out of harm's way, and cut thusly. [cuts lengthwise down the middle of the bread]

16"-18" Baguette

AB: There we go. Now you take one half. You take one half. Take a couple of fingers and just scoop out the middle of the bread, going from one end to the other, so you've got a nice little trench in there.
  E: Why?
AB: Why? Well, I'm glad you asked that, Elton. Good question. What we're looking for here is a certain structural integrity. By hollowing out the middle we make a nice cavity for the innards, and this is going to make sure that the innards don't fall out later on, because they'll have a nice little place to cradle. It also means that we're going to have the correct proportion of filling to bread. And that is also very important.
  M: Okay, well, fine. What do I do with this?
AB: Well, make bread crumbs or Fondue.
  M: Oh! I love Fondue. I love Fondue!
AB: Yes. That's another show. Get back to work.
  M: Okay.

The dugout canoe maneuver should only be performed on hard crusty breads.

AB: And now we build by the master plan. We begin with a foundation of tuna. twelve ounces, in fact, drained and crumbled. You can use water-packed or oil, completely up to you. On top of that we have four to five thin slices, as in a third of an inch thin slices, of green bell pepper and red onion.

12 Ounces Canned, Drained
     & Crumbled

1 Small Green Pepper Sliced
    Into Rings
1 Small Red Onion Sliced

    Now if you don't think that your knife skills are up to it, just switch over and use either a V-slicer or a mandolin. It'll save you time and your fingertips.

AB: On top of that we go with two bard-boiled eggs. A complete strata, sliced thin. You ought to get about ten pieces out of that. On top of that, one whole cup of kalamata olives, pitted and chopped, of course. Your top layer? tomatoes. Four to five slices of very, very ripe tomato. Okay? Then drizzle on your dressing. And I do mean drizzle. If you just pour it on, it'll run over the sides and it'll be a big mess. You want it to permeate the layers, okay? Top that with your lid of bread and then we move to the next phase, wrapping.

2 Hard Boiled Eggs Sliced

1 Cup Kalamata Olives,
    Pitted & Chopped

4-5 Tomatoes Sliced Thin

Drizzle On Vinaigrette

M&E: Wrap?
  M: What happened to eat?
  E: Yeah, I'm starving!
  M: Yeah!
AB: Look, just, just, just trust me on this, okay. By wrapping it up we're going to compress the whole sandwich. And by letting it sit at room temperature—here, help me move this—room temperature for a couple of hours, not only will all the flavors meld beautifully, but the sandwich is going to stay together better later on, okay? So just go with me here. Take just some plastic wrap. I'm going to lay out two strips of this side by side. There's one and here's two. Okay? Here, hold that, Marsha.
  M: Mmm.
AB: Be good for something. Okay. We're going to overlap the plastic, just a little bit, okay? Now tight is what we're after here. So I'm going to move the sandwich. I'm going to layer this over. And then just as tight as I can, I'm going to roll it up. I'm getting a lot of compression here and this is going to help to soften the bread and it's going to create a nice, cohesive sandwich so when we eat this later on, nothing is going to fall out. There you go. Now believe me, your patience will be rewarded.

The sandwich was introduced to America in
1840 in Elizabeth Leslie's book "Directions for Cookery."

The Kitchen

  E: Wow! That is one righteous sandwich, Unc!
  M: Very nice, but you know what I really want? One of those pressed Panini sandwiches. Mmm! Those are good.
  E: What is that?
AB: Panini. Well, it's actually Italian for "little bread", but in popular parlance it means a sandwich that's been cooked in a sandwich press.
  M: Oh! Like the Sand-O-Squeeze 3000? I saw one of those in an infomercial. Alton, we've got to have one of those if we're going to make that. We have to.
AB: Okay. Well, I'll tell you what, Marsha. Elton and I will stay here and do all the prep and you run out to the store and get us one.
  M: Me shop? Yah. Mmm. You know, I mean, since it's for the team, okay!
AB: It is for the team.
  M: Yup, back in a minute.
AB: Oh, and make sure you get a left-handed one!
  M: Will do.
AB: Bye-bye. Bye-bye. [she shuts the door] Elton.
  E: Yes?
AB: Let's cook.

[they jump to it]

AB: Now I'm not the kind of guy to tell you that you have to have a Panini press, but if you were to buy a Panini press, here are a few of the things you might want to look for. Observe. We have a very large, rectangular cooking area that'll easily hold two sandwiches. It's a non-stick surface, and it has ribs that are very, very closely grooved, and that's good because that means more contact with the sandwich, and that means more carmelization, and that means more flavor. Now the lid is heavy and it swivels in the middle of the handle like this so that you know that it won't squeeze or pinch even the thickest sandwiches. As for the controls, keep it simple. Although I'd say that a variable heat control is okay, look at this. This one's got a stop light and a go light. And that's just fine by me.

  E: Hey, Unc, I got those ingredients you wanted.
AB: Excellent! Let's cook then.
  E: Yeah. What's that?
AB: That? Oh, that's nothing. That's just a Sand-O-Squeeze 3000.
  E: Hey, if you've already got one then why did you send Mom to ... I get it.

Many older waffle irons feature reversible cooking
plates that can be used to press sandwiches.

    One of the most popular pressed sandwiches on earth is the Cuban, a Floridian favorite that is packed with pickles, pork, ham and cheese. It's similar to the pan bagnat in that it displays a perfect balance of flavor and texture, especially when it's been squeezed. Now traditionally this is served on an oblong roll called a Cuban roll, but I've actually found that a plain old hoagie roll does the job just as well. And these are usually a lot easier to come by.

AB: Are we good to go?
  E: Good to go.
AB: Let us go.

    We start by evenly slicing our rolls in half. Well, don't break them all the way apart. Leave a little bit, a tab, holding the two sides of the bread together. That'll make folding easier later on. First we go with the condiment layer, mustard. We want that on each side and you can use as much as you like. Elton obviously likes using a whole lot. Smear it into the bread, and then layer on the ham. Just a thin layer on each side of the sandwich. Then the roast pork. Just kind of sprinkle it over if it's torn. You don't have to have perfect slices. Next up: the cheese. Provolone or Swiss will do and I go with two slices. And then pickles. You want to make sure you get a little bit in every bite. Go with big, kosher dills. Then simply fold and close.

    Slice 4 hoagie rolls in half and spread each half with 2 Tbs. of yellow mustard. Top mustard with 1/4 pound baked ham, 1/4 pound roast pork, 1/4 pound thinly sliced Provolone cheese and 10 slices whole dill pickles.

AB: There.
  E: Man, my mom would never let me eat anything that messy.
AB: Well, all you have to do is tuck the edges and corners like that. See? Now we can either wrap and refrigerate, or give it the squeeze.
  E: Oh, I'll go crank up the press.
AB: Alp! No need my boy, I've made alternate thermal arrangements. Come.

[AB opens the oven to show 3 rectangular, foiled things on a sheet pan]

  E: Oh. Let me guess. Square bread?
AB: Square bread. Tha ... No. Fireplace bricks. Six of them, heated at 500 degrees for an hour. I've got half of them wrapped in foil.
  E: Are you thinking what I think you're thinking?
AB: Yeah.

    First step: butter up the bricks, the ones covered with foil. And just a little bit of butter will prevent sticking and help to promote the golden, brown and delicious that we're looking for. Then lay on the sandwiches and butter the tops. Then apply the top layer of bricks, still on the pan, of course, and leave for 10 minutes, or until golden, brown and delicious. And carefully remove using 2 spatulas. Of course, there's enough heat left in those bricks to cook something, but that's another show. Now slice the sandwich in half, and behold.

Brush With 1 TBS. Unsalted Butter Melted

AB: It's beautiful. Melted cheese, crisp bread, everything pleasantly mushed. Of course you know if you don't want to mess with the bricks you can always do this with your Mom's iron.
  E: She'd kill me.
AB: Yeah, she would.

"Pasties," a sandwich consisting of a basic stew in a crust,
were developed for copper miners to carry to work.

The Kitchen

AB: Parents? Do you have a hard time getting your kid to eat vegetables?
  E: Ehhhhhh!
AB: I know exactly how you feel. But don't worry. All you need is a kid-friendly delivery system. I'll start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. Elton, You've got chopping to do.
  E: Okay.

Adult Supervision Please!

    Although the actual vegetables can vary depending on your taste, I like to start with one small zucchini sliced into thick rounds, followed by one red bell pepper, also cut into rounds. Now you could do this with a knife, or a mandolin or a V-slicer, just make sure you use the hand guard. I can't over-emphasize that enough. Last but not least, 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, mashed flat. You can just use the back of a heavy pan or skillet. Now once you've got all that stuff fabricated, toss it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then lay it out on a sheet pan that's been lined with foil. And then sprinkle that liberally with salt. About half a teaspoon will do the trick. Then roast approximately 45 minutes. You're going to want to stir occasionally during the cooking process just to make sure that the heat is evenly distributed.

    Toss the following with 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1 small zucchini, slice, 1 red bell pepper sliced into rings, 1 medium onion sliced into rings, and 4 cloves garlic crushed. Sprinkle with a pinch of Kosher salt and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

    Once the veggies are nice and soft, but brown around the edges, it's time to exit the oven and go straight into the food processor. This is where the foil makes things a lot easier. To this we will add one 8-ounce block of cream cheese. Lid up and go for a spin. You just want to pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped and the spread is homogenized.

    Place roasted vegetables in the bowl of the food processor along with 8 ounces of cream cheese and process until well combined.

AB: How'd we do? Looks good ...
  E: Mmm Hmm.
AB: Mmm. Tastes good. Now what kind of bread do you think we should put that on?
  E: Um, something soft, but, you know, not too soft.
AB: Hence the saying: "Squishable spreads go on squishable breads."
  E: Is that a real saying?
AB: It is now. Here, have a try.
  E: Okay. Mmm!

    My work here is done.

AB: This is a good sandwich.
  E: Oh yeah, great sandwich.
AB: You know, sandwiches may be fast food, but also really good food. You know? And when you make them yourself, you know exactly what's going in them. And of course, by extension, that means you know exactly what's going into your kids. Which has got to be a good thing. You know, introducing kids to the kitchen isn't only a great way to make their lunch, it's a great investment in their future. One less hurdle for them to overcome once they have flown the coop for good. And should they return ...
  M: Oh boys, I'm back. I've got the Sand-O-Squeeze 3000 but it's going to take all 3 of us to get it out of the car. Come on!
AB: Hey, at least they'll know how to make a sandwich. So, see you next time on Good Eats. Let's get out of here!

Transcribed by Mike DiRuscio
Proofread by ???

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010